No Cycling This Weekend: I’d hoped I’d be writing an entry to our tandem cycling blog this weekend; however, life and rain sometimes get in the way of the best laid plans. As for the life thing, the lovely Miss Debbie volunteered to assume her alter ego as Nama on Saturday and sit the three granddaughters while the kids attended a wedding and then ‘took the night off’ before returning home around noon on Sunday. We still thought we might sneak in a tandem bicycle ride on Saturday morning, but the weather nixed that. By the time Debbie arrived back home on Sunday afternoon, riding a tandem bicycle for 25-mile ride was not the first thing Miss Debbie wanted to do, nor the second. Looks like the next opportunity for us to head out on the tandem might not be until the 2nd week of November, as we’re scheduled to be out-of-town for the next two and possibly three weekends. Speaking of which….
Four Wake-Ups! We’re now a mere four (4) wake-ups away from making the 450-mile ride down to Daytona Beach, Florida on Thursday for the fall edition of Bike Week, aka, Biketoberfest. Having become somewhat seasoned at making these extended weekend motorcycle trips, the pre-departure checklist is a little less detailed and takes less time to execute than it did for those first trips. In fact, we can pretty much do most of the prep and packing the night before we leave. Previous trips have seen me out shopping for adverse weather gear when mother nature served up cold, wet or cold and wet weather, trying to figure out what all we might need and how to pack it all on the bike, or taking care of some last-minute bike maintenance like replacing worn-out tires. That’s gotten easier with time, having all the gear we’ll ever need and staying on top of motorcycle maintenance. For example, I had the rear tire on Blue replaced a few weeks ago after returning from our Gatlinburg weekend instead of putting it off until this weekend. But, there were still a few things I needed to address.
Extended Service Plan: Perhaps the biggest item on my to-list was the decision on whether or not to purchase the Harley-Davidson Extended Service Plan (ESP) for Blue. The 2-year factory warranty expired back on August 7th, and while I typically see extended warranties as being unnecessary, my trusted service advisor strongly encourages folks like us who put substantial mileage on the bikes to get the ESP.
Several friends have also shared how their ESP-covered repairs have more than covered the cost of the plan. Of course, I have to wonder how CNA can offer these plans if there’s such a high pay-out rate? Perhaps we and our friends ride a bit more than the average Harley-owner who buys one of these ESPs? I left to assume there are a good number of folks who buy the ESP’s that don’t put big miles on their bikes and who don’t get their money’s worth from the coverage. To make a long story short, after pondering the decision for two months I finally made the call to Harley-Davidson of Atlanta’s Business Manager, Virginia, and purchased the 5-year ESP with tire & wheel road hazard coverage: I don’t think I paid as much for my ’77 Honda CB550F SuperSport, my first street bike! But, be that as it may,in theory, we’re now covered against future issues with Blue.
Other Pre-Flight Checks: I got myself out-of-sync with the typical 10,000, 15,000 and upcoming 20,000 mile service intervals on Blue when I changed the oil at 8,000 miles in Nov ’14 and then again at 12,500 miles in Mar ’15 so with the odometer approaching 17,000 miles I made a point of picking up some oil filters when I had Blue in for the new tire back on September 11th. Today I picked up four quarts of Mobil 1 20-50 V-Twin oil and knocked out that oil change this afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the oil plug’s magnet was nearly clean when it came out, definitely a good thing vs. finding a large collection of metallic particulate matter attached to it.
I thought about changing the drive train lubricants today as well, but when I last checked before our trip to Gatlinburg they were both in pretty good shape. So, that fluid change will be deferred until we get back from Daytona and before we head to Panama City Beach. It will take a special trip down to Hellbender Harley-Davidson to get the Red Line oils I like to use in the primary and transmission since they’re about the only place that keeps it on the shelf. It will still put me on schedule for the 10,000 mile service interval since I changed them out at 8,000 miles last November.
So, What About The Rest of the Weekend? Glad you asked; it was as good as it could be given I had to work on my every-other-week off Friday and was without my sweetie from noon on Saturday until 2:00pm on Sunday.
Our Finally a Friday celebration was extra special in that we received a note from our friends Carrie Ann & Bobby saying that they were thinking about meeting us at Loco’s for dinner. We were able to secure a couple of seats at the bar when we arrived which gave us a beachhead to work from to secure additional bar top space. David & Deb arrived a bit before Bobby and Carrie Ann and it suffices to say we had a grand time. I think we secured another chair or two during the three hours we spent at Loco’s which is how it kind of works when you hang at the bar. Lots of good food and great friends!
It was around 9:30 when David & Deb headed home as Carrie Ann & Bobby headed to the Beer Barrel and we headed over to Jimmy Mac’s where our friend Jody was celebrating her birthday. After visiting with Jody and other friends who we don’t get to see nearly enough we received a note from Carrie Ann inviting us over to the Beer Barrel; we obliged! It suffices to say, we had an amazingly good time. I’d elaborate, but what happens at the Beer Barrel stays at the Beer Barrel… I think we finally made it home around 1:30am and Bobby & Carrie Ann checked-in with a safe arrival call around 2:00am.
We woke up Saturday morning to a steady rain that foiled our plans for a mid-morning tandem ride before Debbie headed off to watch the granddaughters overnight while the kids attended a friend’s wedding. In some respects, this wasn’t all bad as it meant I’d be able to tackle a to-do list that included replacing a 23-year old, worn-out red cedar mailbox post with a home-made replica, replacing some wheel bearings on a trailer, signing up for the aforementioned extended service plan, and getting started on a few other chores around the house. The mailbox post took a lot longer than I expected given Murphy’s Law was in full force. But, by the time all was said and done the replacement looked pretty good and should last longer than I do.
I also picked up some vinyl cloth from the local Hancock Fabric store so I could make a new roll-up tool kit to replace the cheap cloth one that came with the bike. The new one also holds a few more tools so I can actually do some on-the-road repairs as the ones that came with the bike were pretty much of very limited utility.
I also made covers for some other things I like to take along on trips to make them a little more road-worthy: yup, get me going at the sewing machine and who knows what I’ll come up with.
After a quiet dinner at home alone (sob) I headed out to the garage to replace some rough-feeling wheel bearings on a trailer. I had to do a little farm-boy engineering by picking up some 1/2″ ‘drop-in concrete anchors’ to use as bearing extractors as the bearings I was replacing had been pressed into those wheels since 2002 and didn’t want to come out. Thankfully, the other wheel’s bearings were in good shape as I was tired and not looking forward to beating on any more bearings.
Sunday started off a little bleak and lonely, but with a long list of honey-dos I was up fairly early to work on the aforementioned tool bags and covers while getting some laundry and dish washing out-of-the-way before my 10:00am planned visit to Costco for provisions. I also stopped and picked up some oil for Blue on the way back home so that I’d be able to do an oil change after we rode to Loco’s for our Sunday wings & football visit. Once I was back home, all of those projects went on hold while I jumped head-long into some way overdue yard work. Given it had rained for the past two weeks, the lawn and shrubs were in dire need of attention. It took a good 2-3 hours to trim all of the shrubs, bushes and trees, cut the lawn and do the RoundUp thing to the more pesky weeds growing up through the pine bark and pine mulch, by which time my sweet wife Debbie had returned home. We talked about a short tandem ride… well, OK. I asked and she said no way. But, Debbie was looking forward to our weekly ride over to Loco’s on Blue where we’d have our hot wings and watch some football with the other regulars.
Thankfully, the weather had vastly improved so we had partly sunny skies and cool temps for the ride over, which was nice. It also served as a reminder that we’d probably be wearing heated jacket liners, gloves and full leathers for that predicted 49°F departure time temperature on Thursday morning. It’ll be in the 80’s down in Daytona during the day and will drop into the mid-60’s at night, but nothing like the very fall-like temps that will hit Georgia this week! Good time to be headed south for two weeks, eh?!
We had a very nice time at Loco’s and had an extra special treat in that our friend Gator was there as well. Everyone was in pretty good spirits, even though the Falcons were playing like last year’s team instead of the 4-0 team they’d been for the early part of the season. The entire bar had a great laugh when I asked Christian for a “little Diet Coke” to go with my wings and moments later he appeared with a tiny shot glass that had one ice-cube, a small straw and a splash of Diet Coke: yup, be careful what you ask for! This is yet another reason that we continue to patronize Loco’s several times a week: it just suits us so well!
As we were riding home on some of the twisty back roads Debbie leaned forward and said, “You know, I could just do this all day long… I just love riding.” Yup, I’m a lucky guy. Once we were back at the house I turned my attention to getting the oil changed on Blue and jockeying the bikes around in the garage so I’d be able to get the BMW out for my daily commutes on Monday – Wednesday while also getting ready for our trip. Sadly, I could still use a bigger garage!
With the bikes sorted out and the oil changed in Blue I ran over to Home Depot to get some lubricant for another project and to re-heat the engine oil so I could do a final top-off. Back at home it was time for a little more cutting and sewing, a little dinner (we brought home a Reuben from Loco’s) and then Debbie headed off go get groceries while I cleaned up the office and garage after finishing my various projects.
Like I said, not a bad weekend all things considered. I’m still hacking and congested but feel like I’m on the mend, so fingers crossed… those daily doses of Zyrtec & Flonase will continue to keep me going and so I’ll be 100% when we meet our friends Julie & Chuck at 6:30am on Thursday for the ride down to Daytona!